Gearrannan Blackhouses Village and Laimishader.

Start. Gearrannan Blackhouse Village.

Route. Gearrannan - Loch Garenin - Rubha nan Gearrannan - Druidigeo - Loch Rinn na Geodha - Aird Laimishader - Meall Mor - Meall Beag - Laimishader - Ben Borrowston - Borghastan - Gearrannan.

Notes. Gearrannan village abandoned in 1974, the residents re-housed in modern council housing just up the road. Being the only surviving group of such houses in the islands, it was granted outstanding conservation area status. Restored and run by the Gearrannan Village Trust Ltd, the village comprises of nine houses restored in traditional stone and thatch, four of which are let as holiday accommodation, a Youth Hostel said to be the coziest in Scotland plus a small Museum and Tea Shop come Gift Shop. Don't be fooled by the snug interiors of the modern day Blackhouses which have central heating and running water, back in 1974 life was a lot harder.

We parked on the Visitors Centre car park, after visiting the Blackhouse Village we wandered down to the shore of Loch Garenin, reached by crossing the shingle bank. A metal gate allowed access to the cliff path, after passing through the gate our route was simple, we just kept the sea to our right. Most of the way was pathless, easy walking over close cropped grass, surprisingly dry under foot after the rain of yesterday, a delightful walk above stunning cliffs, around rocky bays and headlands, passing tiny freshwater lochens en route. Unfortunately by the time we ascended Ard Laimishader our waterproofs were on (again). From the lighthouse the views are stunning, a litany of islands stretching west as far as the eye can see, breaking the surface of Loch Rog an Ear (East Loch Rog) the islands of Craigeam, Campaigh and Cealasaigh to name but a few, with Bearnaraigh Beag (Little Bernera) with it's stunning beaches slightly to the south.

We descended to the south, faint paths and sheep tracks carried us above sea cliffs guarding the south shore of Loch Charlabhaigh, across the lower slopes of Ben Laimishader we wandered before reaching the deserted township of Laimishader, this small community scratching a living out of crofting and fishing was one of the first to be cleared in 1796. A legacy from a past way of life is an excellent track honed from the western cliffs of Ben Borrowston, this we followed to the scattered community of Borghastan. From there it was tarmac under foot as we wandered east between ancient and modern buildings, at the road junction we turned left, with the Blackhouse Village in sight it was a short damp walk back to the car.

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Our starting point for today's walk, Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, a popular tourist attraction, I guess the car park will be very busy in summer.

Loch Garenin where the cliffs of Aird Mhor tumble into the sea.

A stunning view to the west, seen from near Rubha nan Gearrannan.

Sue's determined to find a path, I'm afraid there isn't one, that was one of the delights of this walk.

Stunning coastal scenery, the jumble of shattered rock and rubble near Druidigeo.

Back on track, and happy with the route we're taking.

Sea stacks and caves.

Looking north towards the mouth of Loch Garenin.

Viewing Loch Dubh na Glait, on the far horizon grey, Beinn Rathacleit.

Just off the coast, the island of Craigeam.

Seen from near Loch Rinn na Geodha, Aird Laimisiadair.

Loch Rinn na Geodha backed by Beinn Bheag.

The lighthouse on Aird Laimisadair, I was a tad disappointed, I expected something in stone and cast iron raised by Victorian engineers, this alien construction looks like it escaped from the pages of the Ikea catalogue, I can only presume it does it's job well.

Views back along the coast, on the skyline Aird Mhor.

Sue approaches the summit.

The golden beaches on Bearnaraigh Beag seen across the mouth of Loch Rog an Ear.

Sue drinks in the views.

Another view to the wonderful sandy beaches on Bearnaraigh Beag, on the far horizon Suaineabhal with Gallan Head to the right.

Loch na h-Airde looking north.

The long abandoned township of Laimishader backed by Ben Borrowston..

On a well constructed track Sue ascends Ben Borrowston.

Looking down on the Port of Laimishader, rising to the right Ben Laimishader.

They certainly built things to last 400 years ago, the track we're walking along is in wonderful condition, then there's this, take away the small stones added over the past centuries and we're left with an almost perfect flat top, any ideas, it's a coffin rest.

Descending to Borghastan with views over upper Loch Charlabhaigh.

A deserted croft at Gearrannan.

Back at the parked car, the building in the foreground is the tea shop, time for a well earned brew.

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